Physiological Effects of Wearing N95 Respirator on Medical Staff During Prolong Work Hours in Covid-19 Departments

Liran Shechtman, Gal Ben-Haim, Ilan Ben-Zvi, Laurence Steel, Avinoah Ironi, Ella Huszti, Sumit Chatterji, Liran Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective The objective of the current study was to determine gas exchange abnormalities and physiological changes among healthcare workers during a 4-hour emergency department (ED) shift while wearing the N95 respirator. Methods Single-center prospective observational study. Comparisons of paired measurements were performed using a non-parametric Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-rank test. Results: Forty-one subjects were included. Prolonged N95 respirator use was associated with a significant decline in plasma pH (7.35 mmHg vs 7.34 mmHg, P = 0.02), PvO2 (23.2 mmHg vs 18.6 mmHg, P < 0.001) and a concurrent increase in EtCO2 (32.5 mmHg vs 38.5 mmHg, P < 0.0001). PvCO2 and bicarbonate levels did not differ. No significant change was observed for heart rate or oxygen saturation. Conclusion Using an N95 respirator for prolonged periods by healthcare professionals may provoke changes in gas exchange. The clinical significance of these changes remains to be determined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E378-E380
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Volume64
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2022

Keywords

  • N95 respirator
  • SARS CoV 2
  • physiological effects

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